Security has been beefed up for the opening of a controversial women-only exhibition at The Dowse tomorrow.
Cinderazahd: For Your Eyes Only is a 3-minute clip of Muslim women preparing for a cousin's wedding without wearing head scarves.
Sophia Al-Maria, the Qatari artist responsible, has asked that men be excluded from seeing the video, which is part of a wider exhibition at Lower Hutt gallery The Dowse called In Spite of Ourselves: Approaching Documentary.
The exhibition opens at 10am tomorrow despite complaints about the women-only polic, which resulted in mediation with the Human Rights Commission on Thursday.
Lower Hutt man Paul Young complained to the Commission over the display, threatening to test the policy by fronting up to try to get in if he was not satisfied with the outcome of mediation, which wound up yesterday.
The Dowse issued a statement saying it acknowledges "the wide public interest in this exhibit and recognises and understands the different sides of the debate.
"In hindsight, we would have worked harder to ensure accurate information about the work, its cost, content and intent, was available to the public earlier.
"This experience has given us valuable insights for the future."
The exhibition would open tomorrow "as planned".
Dowse spokeswoman Rachel Healy confirmed the gallery was today talking to security consultants to provide extra security for the day. Police had also been notified.
She stressed it was just one of 105 works in the exhibition and was being held in an area usually used for storage.
The women in the clip never covered their faces in public, and instead wore loose scarves around their heads.
The piece showed women putting on make-up and jewellery and one being sewn into a dress.
"It’s kind of a scene even New Zealand women wouldn’t want males to look at."
The piece contradicted beliefs that most Muslim women were oppressed, lived in the Middle East, and covered their faces.
Mr Young said while details of the mediation were confidential, no agreement had been reached about whether the women-only piece was legal.
It would have to be tested at a higher level that the Human Rights Commission but he would not pursue it further.
He was not going to test the policy by trying to enter the exhibition but said others might.
He and four other complainants issued this statement today: "From the perspective of the complainants, we feel that we have conveyed a strong message to the Dowse and Hutt City Council on behalf of a significant sector of the community.
"That message is that we have humans rights provisions in New Zealand which we value extremely highly and such perceived breaches of those provisions will always be treated very seriously by our society."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you always wear a helmet while cycling?Related story: Cyclists creative on cycle helmet waivers